I recently had the opportunity to purchase a vintage Swedish Pioneer Shovel from one of my favorite surplus sources. As usual, it was "luck of the draw" as to what exactly I would receive. As luck would have it, I scored another major "shovel victory"!
When I opened the shipping box, I was thrilled to see that the shovel I received was not the more recent and common version with the metal handle yoke. I received the old version that pre-dates WW2 ! In all likelihood, this all wood handle version of the Swedish Pioneer Shovel was made in the pre-WW1 era, and definitely before WW2. (The shovels that were originally advertised from the company were the more common, metal handle yoke type, like the Danish Pioneer Shovels I reviewed in a previous post.)
In fact, here is a comparison of the Swedish Pioneer Shovel to my Swedish Field Spade, Model 1906 -12 that I will be reviewing in my next post.
You can definitely see the distinct similarities between the two. On close inspection, the original black paint finish on the Pioneer Shovel shows in the area of the "scrapes", where the Olive Drab Paint has been removed. To get an idea about how this Pioneer Shovel appeared when it was first issued, you can just picture it finished in the same manner as the smaller spade.
These pioneer shovels are built heavy and made to last. The heavy blade is riveted to the shank and the wood shank is massively reinforced with long metal extensions on the front and back.
The handle is the old style, all one piece, wood type. There is a reinforcing rod that goes through the grip portion and is peened in place. There is a small piece of wood that has been split off, most likely when these shovels were "tossed" into the surplus bin.
The blades on these Swedish Pioneer Shovels are the longest I have ever seen! The Swedes always had their own idea about design, and it is apparent in these shovels!
Originally this shovel would have been left in the natural oiled wood finish. Around WW2, the Swedish Army began painting their shovels in the typical Olive Drab Green. This shovel may have been painted during that time period, or it may have been painted just before it was placed into more recent reserve storage. There are some "permanent ink marker" numbers written on the blade which would tend to back up this last speculation.
With all of that said, let's take a closer look at this unique and rare shovel.
And to finish things up, here is a photo of a 1951 Swedish Army truck. This shovel would most likely have been carried on these vehicles.
|1951 Volvo TLV 141 Swedish Army Military Truck|